Keratoconus (Progressive Cornea Thinning Disorder) – Greenbelt, MD

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About Keratoconus

Keratoconus is a degenerative disorder associated with structural changes in the cornea. The progressive degeneration and weakening of the cornea eventually result in a "cone-like" shape. Once the cornea shape changes enough, the cornea fails to focus light properly on the retina, thereby causing distorted vision. In its severe stages, keratoconus may lead to irreversible corneal damage. In fact, more than 15 percent of all corneal transplant procedures performed in the United States each year are a result of keratoconus.

The surgeons of Solomon Eye Physicians and Surgeons, a leading Maryland eye care practice, offer comprehensive management and treatment for various eye conditions, including keratoconus. Contact our Greenbelt or Bowie, MD office today to schedule your keratoconus evaluation. Dr. Jonathan Solomon and Dr. Stephen Solomon utilize the most innovative diagnostic equipment, including computerized corneal mapping, to diagnose keratoconus. They also provide the most cutting-edge treatment techniques, including corneal cross-linking, INTACS corneal implants, and DALK (deep anterior lamellar keratoplasty). The goal of treatment is to slow the progression of keratoconus, thereby preserving the patient's vision and eliminating the need for corneal transplant surgery.

Symptoms

Keratoconus is typically genetic, but it can develop due to outside factors, such as corneal thinning after eye surgery or aggressive, compulsive eye rubbing. It usually develops in the early years of an individual's life and may progress slowly. In fact, this condition is often undiagnosed until obvious signs and symptoms occur.

The most common symptoms associated with keratoconus are:

  • Irregular astigmatism
  • Progressive loss of distance vision
  • Light sensitivity and glare
  • Blurred and distorted vision
  • Frequent changes in eyeglass prescription

Causes

Most often, keratoconus is a hereditary condition. However, the weakening of corneal tissue (keratoconus) can be caused by several factors, including exposure to UV light, chronic eye irritation, imbalance of enzymes within the cornea, years of using poorly fitted contacts, extreme eye rubbing, and complications following eye surgery.

Treatment Options

At Solomon Eye Physicians and Surgeons, our experts provide the most advanced keratoconus treatments for each stage of the disease. Most patients with early keratoconus can obtain clear vision with eyeglasses or contacts; however, once the disease progresses enough, those will no longer help. Fortunately, there are remarkable options available to continue to maintain vision: 

Corneal Collagen Cross-Linking (CXL) – Also called UV riboflavin CXL, corneal cross-linking is a painless procedure that is performed on an outpatient basis. UV riboflavin CXL involves the use of riboflavin eye drops (Vitamin B2) in combination with ultraviolet light to promote the growth of collagen cross-links within the damaged cornea. It is believed that restoration of corneal collagen links strengthens the corneal tissue, thereby preventing the development of the misshapen "cone-like" cornea associated with keratoconus.

INTACS® Corneal Implants – Dr. Jonathan Solomon belongs to a select group of surgeons worldwide certified to perform INTACS surgery. INTACS corneal implants are tiny, semicircular plastic rings that are inserted at the outer edges of the cornea to flatten its central area to correct myopia and treat keratoconus. The placement of INTACS remodels and reinforces the cornea, eliminating some or all of the irregularities caused by keratoconus. Although glasses or contacts may still be required following treatment, coupled with other promising treatments, the procedure has been shown to reduce the progression of keratoconus and save patients from needing corneal transplantation.

CK  Conductive keratoplasty is a refractive surgery for patients with hyperopia related to keratoconus and/or presbyopia or mild astigmatism. The procedure is best suited for patients over the age of 40 who have had a stable prescription for at least six months. CK is performed utilizing radio waves so certain types of electrical equipment, like pacemakers, can cause negative interference.

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Keratoconus is manageable

Though keratoconus can cause loss of vision and even blindness if left untreated, it can be easily and effectively managed by an experienced ophthalmologist. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with keratoconus or think you may have it, we urge you to contact us today at our Greenbelt or Bowie, MD office. At Solomon Eye Physicians and Surgeons, our experts are ready to provide you with proper diagnosis by some of the most skilled care in the region.

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*Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary from person to person. Images may contain models.